The other location of the False Apollo we visited four times and we stayed there almost the complete day as I wanted decent photos of this species. I learned that the hour before they dive into the bushes to hide for the night they are less active and that they were sitting longer on a flowers or on the path, but I needed to approach them very carefully.
Although I photographed in the morning the same male butterflies as in the afternoon, which gave me the impression that their area is not that big, I never saw them the day after. Every day I photographed other False Apollos....the same for the female butterflies. This lovely lady with a lot of red in her wings I did not see again.
An other female False Apollo was very slow around noon....first I thought that she was attacked by a spider. When the wind moved her wings I learned that she emerged earlier that day. I was watching her and hoped that she would have been noticed by a male....and suddenly it happened..... a male noticed her and within a few seconds they were mating:
My mission False Apollo would be 100% complete with photos of the eggs and caterpillars. I found three different kind of larval foodplants but unfortunately without any eggs or caterpillars.
Nevertheless, mission False Apollo accomplished!
After two days of seeing my first False Apollo ever, I returned early in the morning to this spot with the hope to find a sleeping one....at that time not knowing that this species have an other sleeping strategy. After a long search without finding any butterfly, the sun arrived. Shortly after the sun touches a field of grassland, a grey/dead bush near the path started moving....a female False Apollo had awakened and started climbing out to enjoy the first sunshine:
Two days after this photo was taken I found this species on an other location and observed them the hole day and learned how they disappear in the bushes of grass. On a large field I first saw a male and a minute later a female diving into the dry/dead bushes of grass and I could not find them back. Although a lot of other butterfly species were still flying around, the False Apollo was ready for the night good camouflaged low above the ground....I guess that this is the reason why they have the name Apollo.
On the fourth day of being in Greece I saw my first False Apollo (Archon apollinus), a male, and some seconds later I saw the second one flying around. It was warm and sunny and they were very active. Making a decent photo of them was impossible as they like to sit low on the ground. After a beautiful day with lot of imperfect images I decided to come back two days later early in the morning. The larval foodplants of the False Apollo are Birtwort (aristolochia) species which are also the foodplants of the Southern and Eastern Festoon.
Twice I found a roosting Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena); the Eastern Festoon (Zerynthia cerisy) was an other story as I only saw male butterflies around noon which were rushing past.....without tripod I followed one and finally I have one shot:
The Southern Festoon is a more lazy flyer, not that quick as the Eastern one, and much easier to photograph but like the False Apollo they like to sit on spots near/on the ground with a lot of disturbing elements around. After I had found the second roosting Southern Festoon I waited until he opened his wings.
Finding the exact locations of the False Apollos (archon apollinus) took me a few days as I needed warmth and sunshine to see them flying. We had cold days (8 degrees max) with a lot of wind (force 5)....impossible to find the False Apollo.
After being three days in Greece I finally found the first spot with at least 4 False Apollos flying around. Shortly after our arrival a mini-group (with a big butterfly net) arrived with the same goal....photographing the False Apollo. I took some 'shots' of a female of the False Apollo but not the kind of photos I'm longing for. Because this species is feeding from flowers low above the ground it's very difficult to make 'my kind of photo's' from this species without disturbing elements. As it was the first warm day a lot of other butterfly species were flying around too and I was happy to see two mating pairs of butterflies:
After two hours the mini-group left this spot and we were alone again....sitting under a big tree we observed the butterflies the rest of the day and noticed that the False Apollo like to dive into the bushes of grass in the afternoon to survive the night.
From the websites of two tour operators I learned that there would be a chance that one or both tour groups will return to this False Apollo spot the next day, so we choose a drive through the mountains to search for other spots....during this tour we found our first orchids:
During the winter I was longing that much for butterflies that my partner & I booked a trip to Greece to photograph spring butterflies. From reports which I found on the internet I learned that early April is a perfect time to find some nice species in the mountain area around Alexandroupolis.
On the first day, discovering the hills and countryside around Alexandroupolis we noticed two little puppies running near the road. Later that day we saw them again just outside the village Avantas near some other poor and skinny dogs.
Like a heavy car accident just happened....it was impossible to ignore this kind of skinny dogs....they needed help. We drove to a supermarket and bought our first big bag of dog food. Every day we drove to two, three our four spots with very skinny dogs and feed them. Some dogs were very shy but a few were very happy when we daily arrived and they greeted us very happy.
On day 7 we found one of the little puppies dead....hit by a car and left dead on the street. I placed his dead body under a tree and with a lot of tears we said farewell to him.
This first blog is not about butterflies but dedicated to the street dogs of Greece who all deserves a better life! Adopt.....don't shop!!!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.